Monday, September 22, 2008

Give a Little (Nicolette Larson)

Today's DailyOM

September 19, 2008
Recognizing Our Own Abundance
Planting The Seeds Of Generosity

The most difficult time to be generous is when we ourselves are feeling poor. While some of us have experienced actually being in the red financially, there are those of us who would feel broke even if we had a million dollars in the bank. Either way, as the old adage goes, it is always in giving that we receive. Meaning that when we are living in a state of lack, the very gesture we may least want to give is the very act that could help us create the abundance that we seek. One way to practice generosity is to give energy where it is needed. Giving money to a cause or person in need is one way to give energy. Giving attention, love, or a smile to another person are other acts of giving that we can offer. After all, there are people all over the world that are hungry for love.

Sometimes when we practice generosity, we practice it conditionally. We might be expecting to “receive back” from the person to whom we gave. We might even become angry or resentful if that person doesn’t reciprocate. However, trust in the natural flow of energy, and you will find yourself practicing generosity with no strings attached. This is the purest form of giving. Remember that what you send out will always come back you. Selflessly help a friend in need without expecting them to return the same favor in the same way, and know that you, too, will receive that support from the universe when you need it. Besides, while giving conditionally creates stress (because we are waiting with an invisible balance sheet to receive our due), giving unconditionally creates and generates abundance. We give freely, because we trust that there is always an unlimited supply.

Being aware of how much we are always supported by the universe is one of the keys to abundance and generosity. Consciously remember the times you’ve received support from expected and unexpected sources. Remember anyone who has helped you when you’ve needed it most, and bless all situations that come into your life for the lessons and gifts they bring you. Remember that all things given and received emanate from generosity. Giving is an act of gratitude. Plant the seeds of generosity through your acts of giving, and you will grow the fruits of abundance for yourself and those around you.

I've been working on this blog post since last Friday, trying to find the perfect mesh of themed selections, as well as processing what generosity means to me. It was mentioned in a Words for All Ages story at church the other day that sharing is easy when you already have more than you need - the point of giving is to sacrifice a bit as well.

This lesson was driven home yesterday, with Marti Forman, head of Broward County's Cooperative Feeding Program, during our UU Sunday service - I am proud to say I helped coordinate the event, taking the suggestion of having her speak for a few minutes on the Empty Bowls project and extrapolating it to a full program, with Marti giving the sermon.

The kids did a Stone Soup re-enactment... and we painted bowls after the service (to be baked later and used for the fundraiser) - the most impactful, though, was Marti's talk... as she told stories of various clients of all genders, ages and income levels, and the unfortunate decline in donations over the last year and the damaging effects of less food to spread to more people. The entire sanctuary was weeping (as was Marti during her delivery) - the good news is that we raised almost $500 among us for the CFP... and we've rededicated ourselves to making a major commitment to eradicate hunger in Broward County.

The concert series I coordinate has always asked patrons to bring a non-perishable food item in addition to regular admission, and we will emphasize that even more from now on - I would also like to volunteer with Marti at least once a month in some capacity.

Really... this hit so close to home - "there but for the grace of god" indeed...

P.S. I've been distracted/worried all day, because my mom is in the hospital having an outpatient biopsy to check some enlarged lymph nodes in her lung area (thank goodness my sister and brother are there with her) - if it's inflammation, they'll treat with steroids... if it's infection, they'll treat with antibiotics... and we're not really dealing with the third possibility: cancer. I heard from my sister that Mom was being moved to the Recovery Room and they'd have test results in 3 to 5 days - Mari then called back, saying Mom has pneumothorax (a collapsed lung) and they were keeping her in the hospital. An Internet search says it could be a result of her COPD... or possibly a complication from today's surgical procedure - whatever the case, any thoughts/prayers/candles are much appreciated for Connie's swift and smooth recuperation.

SONG: Give a Little by Nicolette Larson

BOOK: The Giving Heart: Unlocking the Transformative Power of Generosity in Your Life by M. J. Ryan

POEM: The Gift by William Stafford

Time wants to show you a different country. It's the one
that your life conceals, the one waiting outside
when curtains are drawn, the one Grandmother hinted at
in her crochet design, the one almost found
over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.

It's the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then, violated
in various ways. (And sometimes it's turn about.)
You get tired of that. Long-suffering, you wait
and pray, and maybe good things come - maybe
the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it any more.
You have a breath without pain. It is called happiness.

It's a balance, the taking and passing along,
the composting of where you've been and how people
and weather treated you. It's a country where
you already are, bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
turning the world, moving the air, calling,
every morning, "Here, take it, it's yours."

QUOTE: "From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." ~ Arthur Ashe


  1. Dearest Susan--my thoughts & prayers are with strong.
    Love, K. in W.W.

  2. Always in my prayers, Ms. Susan. Longer e-mail soon!

  3. Hey, Kate and Amy ~

    Thanks so much for the thoughts and prayers - I have been strong while getting news from my sister... and then passing it on to my kids... but I admit to falling apart when I got home from work this evening.

    I spoke with Mari again about 7:30 p.m. and all seems to be stabilizing - I had asked her to ask the doctor what percentage the lung collapse is (20 - 25% is manageable)... and his reply was 5% (sheer relief at hearing that number).

    They will continue to take X-rays and determine from there what the procedure will be to handle - in the meantime, Mom's on some serious pain medication, which will keep her comfortable and immobilized to prevent more damage to her already-compromised lungs...

    More as it unfolds - can't help but feel I should be there...